“But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silent before Him.”
This servant of Yehovah was perplexed as he was given to see what he thought was reality in the condition of the world. God had given this prophet eyes to see the iniquity of society which grieved his heart but He also left him to his carnal logic and conclusions. Habakkuk (embrace) was grieved by the absence of justice, the acceptance of liberalities and the apathy of God toward these atrocities. He knew that God was showing him these things which caused him pain as he cried out for justice. Yet as he was viewing the degeneration and corruption of man, he was demonstrating his own vileness through self-righteousness. His evaluation was not of his condition, as he stood aloft and thanked God that he was not as others, for his eyes were affixed upon ‘the wicked’ and the apparent liberty they enjoyed.
The burden which this spokesman of Yehovah was given to perceive begins with an earnest yet presumptuous question. He did not question the reason for the injustice and corruption of the world, in which he excluded himself; he asked why God was not doing something about it. He had divested himself of the affairs of the world and taking up a position apart from all else, he laments the position he is in and questions the ways of God. He was not given to see the inter-cooperation of all thoughts, words and deeds, in the masterful work of God as he manifests Adamic theology at its finest.
“Therefore the law is slacked and judgment never goes forth, for the wicked compass about the righteous, therefore wrong judgment proceeds”
Equipped with limited reasoning, carnal logic and a polluted mind, Adam surmises that the Law of God (demonstrated in the time of the prophets in the types and foreshadows of Mt. Sinai) is the power to transform and control man; it is not. It has been proposed that when a man keeps the Law of Moses, then good things shall follow and when the law is transgressed then the curses of Yehovah fall upon the perpetrators. This is beginning of the doctrine of 'conditionalisms' which purports that God has commanded conduct, whether in commission or omission, wherein the compliance results in blessing and the abstinence results in judgment. Man begins in Adam dead in trespasses and sin and by the deeds of the law cannot be made perfect. Habakkuk was not concerned that there was wickedness in the world or that the thoughts and intents of his heart were continually wicked, which things are manifested by the standards of the Law of God. This standard of righteousness is not a controlling power to make the doer holy but rather is the ministration of condemnation. The Law is good, righteous and pure in that it is the standard of the Holiness of God but it is the ministration of death for when the commandments revive, those who have eyes to see find themselves condemned before its perfection, guilty of the transgression of the Law and separated from God.
Chavakkuk wanted to know why had God shown these things to him, what was to be the duration of these crimes and when was He going to do something about this mess. Like the Pharisee in the time of Christ, he portrayed himself as clean and everyone else as wicked. He was lifted up by the pride in his heart which concluded that God was not in control, His Word was ineffectual and the affairs of this world were without restraint.
This is not an unusual or bizarre conclusion of any child of the dust. The Pharisees thought themselves complete and Holy and expected all others to measure up to their standard for; “They that are whole need not a physician, but they who are sick” (Luke 5:31). They stand thankful before God that they are not like these others who are in need of deliverance or the wicked which deserve the judgment of God and they boast in their prominence and glory because they keep the law. They esteemed themselves as the chosen of Yehovah who were of the correct pedigree and being found faithful to the tithing of mint and cumin were entitled to the blessing and protection of God as they were worthy of the inheritance of the kingdom; these have their rewards. Those who have been made partakers of flesh and blood are not exempt from these feelings.
Elijah had a similar experience when he was given to conclude that he alone was left who was faithful before God. After the mighty hand of Yehovah was demonstrated in plain view before all of Israel by the hand of His servant Elijah, this man retreats into the wilderness and desires to die, saying, “It is enough now Yehovah take away my life for I am no better than my fathers” (I Kings 19:4). The hand of God strengthens him as he ventures into the mountain and there laments; “I have been very jealous for Yehovah God of hosts because the children of Israel have forsaken the covenant, thrown down the altars and slain the prophets with the sword and I only am left and they seek my life to take it away” (19:14).
Jonah came to this situation when God did not pour out His wrath against Nineveh but rather had ordained repentance for the people. These were wicked people who deserved the judgment of God. His Law had no power over them, they were defiant toward Him and their wickedness had reached up before God yet He demonstrated mercy upon these people who could not discern between their right hand and their left hand (Jon 4:11).
No amount of visual evidence could remove the depression and frustration he felt by those who conclude that the sovereignty of God is not sufficient. This is the limitation of Adam who does not know the way of God. The Pharisees stood condemned in their words, Elijah knew nothing of the seven thousand reserved unto God and Jonah could not understand the fact that a sovereign God can and will have mercy on whom He will have mercy and on whom He wills He hardens (Rms. 9:15).
The Law of God is exact and the standard never alters. The judgment of God is His very nature; therefore it is true, righteous and perfect. The wicked are exactly where the eternal Will of God has placed them and they are performing all that He has assigned for them to do. If they indeed encompass the righteous it is for the good of the righteous as the wicked and all their deeds have been ordained of God for good. These wicked are they whom God has hated from before the foundation of the world, for they are the seed of the serpent and they dwell in vessels outfitted for destruction. These do the work of their father he Devil but they are not independent of the perfect Will of God. Since no truth dwells in them it is unconscionable to conclude that they should put forth righteous edicts and judgments. But it is also unreasonable to think that the verdicts they conclude and the laws they enact and enforce are in any way, shape or form contrary to the perfect Will of God. He has put it in their hearts to fulfill His will, He turns the heart of the King as the river of water and the wrath of man shall praise Him as he restrains the remainder. And so Chavakkuk’s conclusions and accusations before God are completely erroneous, presumptuous and arrogant.
“Behold the nations and regard and wonder marvelously; for I will work a work in your days you will not believe though it be told unto you” (1:5).
The patience of the Father toward the young child is demonstrated in God’s answer to His Beloved servant. He does not throw down a mountain, rain fire from heaven or bring a plague against this one who was struggling to understand; He speaks and demonstrates that He is the King. Looking at the nations (heathen) is where Chavakkuk was looking when he beheld iniquity and grievances but he was looking as a self professed righteous man who wanted to see judgment. God instructs His son to observe the affairs going on in the nations of the world though all these works were finished from before the foundation of the world. Today many call for the same observation but they hope to see the prophesies of God, as they understand them, come to pass as they attempt to predict the end times. Yehovah, however, was calling those things which were not yet as though they were already completed to demonstrate to Chavakkuk that He is sovereign over all. He specifically states that He would “raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land to possess the dwelling places not theirs” This nation of people, terrible and dreadful’ were prepared of God to do His bidding when the time came to pass that they should perform their part. These ‘clod breakers’ (Chaldea) were to march through the land, scoff at the rulers, scorn them and deride every stronghold to heap up dust and take it. Then their mind shall be changed as they blaspheme Yehovah God and give praise and glory to their gods.
God had decreed that these people should prosper in their endeavours and break up the clods as their name indicated. But how can one break up clods but first the field is plowed in preparation to be sowed? The fierceness and swiftness of this marauding band with horses, chariots and horsemen were dispatched as the eagle hastening to eat (1:8) to perform as God had predestinated so that the ground would be prepared.
“Art Thou not from everlasting Yehovah my God, mine holy One? We shall not die. Yehovah you have ordained them for judgment and mighty God you have established them for correction” (1:12).
This statement from the mouth of God about the affairs of the nations was inconceivable to the natural mind of Chavakkuk. Israel was the chosen nation and the inheritance could never be polluted by the insurgence of such unclean people. God loves His people Israel and would never bring judgment upon her for they are the seed of Abraham. Chavakkuk was as consumed with natural Zionism as any are today. He was appalled at the idea that anything could come against this people for God had promised to protect them. No army could ever stand before them for “Yehovah God shall fight for you” (Ex. 14:14). God had given them the promises and the covenant which could never be annulled by the acts of man and they possessed the inheritance of the land which God had given to them. Now God was telling His servant that He was bringing an heathen nation into this land to destroy His people and take the promise away. How could these things be?
In a most defiant and presumptuous manner, Chavakkuk thinks it prudent to remind Yehovah God just who He is; “of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on iniquity”. He follows this with an irreverent accusation inferring that God is not only inactive but unjust; “wherefore do you look upon them which deal treacherously and hold your tongue when the wicked devour the man that is more righteous than he?” (1:13). Chavakkuk has the iconic idea that there were some who were deserving of comforts and blessings while there were those who deserve destruction. This is true in the Will of God as He has created the wicked and reserved them unto the day of judgment but He has also ordered His servant to leave the tare and the wheat grow together. Neither man nor angels knows the difference between the just and the unjust for Yehovah alone knows them that are His. It is wrong for the servants to go presumptuously into the field to root out the tares “lest while you gather up the tares, you root up the also the wheat with them” (Matt. 13:29) and it is an arrogant presumption to point the finger of identification upon man.
The carnal logic of Adam evaluates all things after the senses he was created with and even adds an ignominious element called ‘gut feeling’ to the process. Hereby he concludes what is good, righteous and wicked; therefore these standards change with society, culture and beliefs. This manner of reasoning would have concluded the thief on the cross as wicked though a child of grace, Peter a coward and reprobate as he cursed and swore an oath upon the temple, Saul of Tarsus an enemy of the cross and worthy of death and is drawn to Diotrephes who loved and received the preeminence (3 John 1:9). And so Chavakkuk has concluded who is righteous to which he undoubtedly included himself and has insinuated that the wicked have no right to do what they do, he and the others are worthy of better treatment and Yehovah God is remiss in His duties.
Lest the finger of accusation be leveled at this man the scripture gives ample evidence that this is the way of all who are born of dust and water. The disciples after entering into a village of Samaria were rejected asked Jesus; “Lord wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them even as Elias did?” (Luke 9:54). They concluded these worthy of judgment and themselves righteous to administer.
“And Yehovah answered me and said, Write the vision and make it plain upon the tables that he may run that reads” (2:2).
The simplicity of the Word of God to those who have been given ears to hear is sweet and precious. They who run the race find that their path is hedged in on all sides with thorns, briers and hewn stones. They know the worm wood and the gall and therefore they have hope as they are taught that it is good to both hope and patiently wait for the deliverance from Yehovah. God speaks in parables and dark sayings for the world to muse over but in simplicity and assurance to His children by His Son, Jesus Christ.
Those things which Chavakkuk say were accurate in his understanding. There was great injustice of the laws of man as he perceived them but the application of the Law of Moses to the nations is incorrect. There was a forsaking of the Law of God by His people as the statutes and commandments functioned as the schoolmaster to bring the elect unto the Deliverer but the adherence to the ceremonial, moral and governmental laws of Israel can never make one righteous before God. This righteousness must be an actuality because it can never be obtained by the works of the hands or the deeds of the law.
The reality of nature is that the soul in a man is lifted up against his Creator because that is the way he was created. Adam thought himself capable of understanding the situation he and Eve were in and esteemed himself sufficient to resolve the matter amicably before God; yet man cannot know sin nor the ways of God. Thus Edom, the natural man, seeks to exalt himself as the eagle and set his nest among the stars; this is the pride wherewith he has been deceived (Ob). “Behold his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him” for “woe to him that covets an evil covetousness to his house that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil” (2:9). This was not a rebuke against those whom Chavakkuk thought were wicked it was the reproof of Yehovah against the arrogance of his heart.
The presumptuous thought that Yehovah God is not completely sovereign over everything, the arrogant impertinence to assume that the creature must inform the Creator as to the events of the times and the accusation of apathy and impotence against the works which God finished before the foundation of the world is the logical and necessary conclusion of the feeble mind of man. This is why the doctrine of Adam claims prayer changes things but the just shall live by his faith; for if the just has hope only in this world he is of all men, most miserable. When the Spirit opens the eyes of the children to the conditions which surround them in this present evil generation, the natural man concludes there is no god and Adam needs to clean things up.
The faith of the child of grace as they are made partakers of flesh and blood is specific to the person. Each has been dealt a measure of faith commensurate to their state of development as they grow in the grace and knowledge of His will. This is the immutable faith of the Son of God which is a fruit of the Spirit and the bases for the deliverance of the children from the wrath of God. Because the Son was full of faith (faithful) in all that He came to do, His family is justified by that faith and therefore they have peace with God. Each one lives by the faith of Him who loved them and gave Himself for them and yet walks according to their very own, personal measure of faith. This excludes walking by sight for the eyes of man cannot see the beauty of His Holiness. It excludes the walking by understanding for the natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit and does not know the ways of God and it rules all things that are seen; “for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen eternal” (II Cor. 4:18).
The events and injustice of this world have not gone astray from the providence of the King who is seated upon His throne. The thoughts and intents of the heart of every descendant of Adam is only evil continually and therefore is enmity with God. The justice man seeks is the coming of a kingdom where everyone else is punished while he is exonerated and praised. This is the question of the disciples to Jesus; “Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The Kingdom of God is the Israel of our God. It is the fullness of the mystery of the gospel, that all nations should be partakers of the same Spirit because; “Yehovah God omnipotent reigns” (Rev. 19:6).
Chavakkuk was given to vent his heart before God only to be taught as Job was that Yehovah God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This does not remove, soften or condone the conduct of man for his deeds are evil. It explains the events of the day as God plows His fields, preparing them for His planting of His seed from generation to generation. He sends forth His assigned ‘clod breakers’, though evil, tenacious and ferocious, to “gather the captivity as the sand” and “heap dust and take it” yet they have no power but what is delegated to them from the Omnipotent Master. Though they ascribe glory and honour to their idols of wood, stone, money or prominence yet shall they be brought down when “the cup of Yehovah’s right hand shall be turned unto you and shamefully spewing on your glory” (2:16).
The hand of Yehovah God is not shortened that He does not reward man with the deeds done in his flesh for all shall give the account. But this is no license for those who have the hope of glory within to gloat and cast aspersions against those heathen, stinking Armenians or unregenerate scum (as some would call the unbelievers). Man cannot do anything but what is placed in his hand and empowered of God to perform at the appointed hour. The angry, proud wave comes no farther than the set boundaries and the cumulative endeavours of the flesh shall never encroach upon the wonders and beauty of that city not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time but at the end it shall speak and not lie, though it tarry, wait for it because it shall surely come, it will not tarry “(2:3).
The Word of God has gone forth and accomplished all the intent of His heart. He has delivered His people from their sin and all the Father gave to Him He has lost none but has raised them up together with Him in the last days. This came to pass not by might nor by strength but by the Spirit of Yehovah. When the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah cried out “It is finished” the end spoke and did not lie. The fact that there was no lie indicates it was not of man for all men are liars and that fact that it came to pass declares it is the Will of God who works all things after the counsel of His own Will. The gracious Father revealed the nature of man to His disciple Chavakkuk as He does this very day. He also gives comfort by grace through faith and that not of Adam.
“O Zion, who brings good news, get up into the high mountain; Jerusalem, who brings forth good tidings lift up your voice with strength; lift up, be not afraid, say to the cities of Judah, BEHOLD YOUR GOD” (Is. 40:9).
“And Yehovah in His Holy Temple; on account of Him, the whole earth is silent” (Hab. 2:20).
Chavakkuk began with an accusation but ended with a prayer. He began with a presumption of righteousness and ended with a plea for mercy. He started talking to God but ended up listening and hearing the Word of God and he was afraid. His arrogance in Adam spoke first in ignorance but his praise of God spoke in wisdom like Job. His conclusion was; “Yehovah God is my strength and He will make my feet like hinds’ (female deer) feet and He will make me to walk upon mine Holy places” (3:19).
“O God, you have taught me from my youth and hitherto have I declared you wondrous works” (Ps. 71:17).
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
November 2, 2014